I said it.
My worship (and yours) is worthless.
It means nothing to God if our hearts have not turned to Him out of desperation, truly godly sorrow and repentance for everything we have put before Him, even the things we are waiting for.
Years ago, one of my former pastors said something that has always stayed with me:
“Worship is not a song or making music to the Lord. It can include those things, but that’s not what it is. Worship is a lifestyle.”
I will add to that that worship is a lifestyle of complete surrender to the Lord, to His plans, His will and His agenda for our lives. When we said yes to the Lord, Christ became our life. (Colossians 3:3-4).
Our lives are not own. Back in 2014, God kept telling me over and over:
Even you, don’t belong to you Charlene.
Anyone who knows me knows that two things I absolutely love and can’t do without are the Word of God and worship. It has literally carried me through so many seasons in my life.
Yet if I am honest, some other things have tried to fight for first place in my heart, especially in the last couple of weeks. (I will share in a later post.)
This week the Lord has been dealing with my heart about truly listening. The message in church on Sunday was “Talk To Me”. He spoke about the importance of prayer and asked us if while we are talking to God are we allowing Him the opportunity to speak back to us.
He said a clear indication that we are really heeding the voice of God should be reflected in our lifestyle. It should be evident to others that we are walking with the Father.
Monday rolls around and I had a meeting with one of my purpose partners. We shared our frustrations about our jobs and where it was that God was trying to take us in business and ministry.
I, myself, have been in a tift with the Lord recently regarding His direction in my life as it relates to those two things. I have been
asking pestering Him to show me a strategy for all that He has put in my heart to do concerning my purpose.
Clearly the Lord has been trying to get my attention and decided the way He would do it was through the two things I love: The Word and worship.
Two days in a row, both devotionals that I am currently reading were almost parallel, which almost never happens.
Can you guess what they were talking about?
If that was’t enough, I felt an urge to listen to Charles Stanley a few mornings ago. I used to listen to Dr. Stanley religiously several years ago, but hadn’t in a while. The two topic messages for that day:
Is God still speaking?
Ok, God. You have my attention.
Interestingly enough, later that day, another friend of mine suggested I listen to Charles Stanley’s message as well, the very same messages I had just listened to.
I think not!
Then the Lord spoke very clearly to me yesterday morning:
Listening = obeying
If I was truly listening to Him (and all that He had already told me to do concerning my purpose…ehmmmm…the strategy), I would have obeyed Him already.
Instead, I had been looking for another way, trying to run with what the crowd was doing, instead of what He had already specifically instructed me to do.
Now I was hearing Him loud and clear.
This morning, however, is when I truly began listening.
My heart was truly broken in a different kind of worship…one that wasn’t worthless. One that suddenly felt the weight of what I had put in front of what He wanted.
It erupted from a broken and contrite heart as I began to reflect over all the other things that I had put before Him…as idols.
I wasn’t listening to Him and therefore not obeying, so my previous worship meant nothing to Him.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. ~ James 1: 22-24
I began to recount all the ways I had not been listening to Him recently, especially when He wasn’t saying something to me that I wanted to hear.
Isn’t it interesting how many times we say God isn’t speaking to us because it isn’t something we asked Him about or what we want?
This morning as I read my devotional, at the end, the author recommended a song that I was introduced to several months ago by a dear friend.
Today it had the same effect on me as it did the day I first heard it:
Free flowing tears, utter brokenness and a deep godly sorrow.
The song lyrics from “Clear The Stage” by Jimmy Needham was the missing element I needed to really listen.
And it stopped me dead in my tracks.
It wasn’t enough to sing the words. No, that kind of worship is worthless.
As I allowed it to pierce my heart, the lyrics became my prayer and led the way for my repentance before the Lord. My priorities shifted as I recognized that it wasn’t enough to say I was sorry for not listening. When I realized that me not listening, i.e. disobedience, had weakened my intimacy with my Daddy, I really became broken over that reality.
And this my sister is true worship, worship that isn’t worthless.
Where you are broken over your sins, over not listening and following God even in the little things.
It’s where you recognize that your worship is worthless because you have so many other competing idols on the throne of your heart instead of Him.
That includes anything and anyone you have put before Him, anything you want with all your heart, anything you can’t stop thinking of and anything that you have given all your love to.
Check out some of the words of the song below.
I encourage you to sit before Him and repent if you find yourself anywhere in the song.
Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song
Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the Word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken
We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it .
Anything I put before my God, is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart, is an idol
Anything can’t stop thinking of, is an idol
Anything that I give all my love, is an idol
(taken from lyrics of Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham)
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (several translations)
Photo credit: Canva
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